"Never take off the mask."
"Never take off the mask."

Unmasked: “You Were Never Really Here” / “A Beautiful Day”

I know that you, dear readers, are eagerly waiting for the “Ready Player One” review that I’ve been teasing for some time now as I was really hyped and (spoiler alert) I actually really liked the movie but, unfortunately, you’ll have to wait a little bit more for me to gather my thoughts and turn them into text. Meanwhile, though, I decided to give the random cinema (the one I mentioned in the “Hostiles” review) another shot and see what my luck would be this time. Well, now I can safely make three consequent conclusions that I’ve come to on my way out of the cinema:

  1. The result of my attempt was in the best case catastrophic.
  2. I’m terribly unlucky when it comes to random things.
  3. The adrenaline from the last movie I’ve watched has been replaced with pure hate.

I detest horrors in general and I sincerely think that 99% of them make no sense at all and the only reason someone would watch them would be either the endless silence or the “jump scare” effects in order to increase their adrenaline levels. Even before the movie screening this time we had a couple of old school horror trailers played which were a sign that the movie could be something similar and therefore I kind of expected it to be terrible. Later on, though, when I found out that we’re talking about a thriller with a pinch of drama and mystery I hoped for something a liitle bit better at least. Well, eventually, I believe that it would most likely be better both for the audience and the people working at the cinema (you’ll find out at the end of this review why) if the movie was just one of these horrors.

But what is it that we are actually talking about? Well, if you haven’t figured it out from the title itself, we’re going to dicuss the not so popular (meaning it’s not really a Hollywood blockbuster but it seems the movie experts have been looking forward to it as to some kind of a phenomenon) movie “You Were Never Really Here”, or in some countries “A Beautiful Day”, which has made its premiere, although in an unfinished state, during the Cannes festival last year and this week it gets its worldwide release in theaters. If by any chance you’ve already seen the movie and have read some reviews about it which you agree with, I strongly suggest NOT reading further. You must be wondering why – the reason is actually pretty simple. Everyone who thinks he has a good idea what good cinema is and also rates theatrical releases, almost worships this movie (87 points in RT, ’nuff said) and just won’t stop complimenting on it. As for me, as I already mentioned, the movie is an absolute disaster in ALMOST all of its aspects.

And here you can see Joaquin Phoenix’s face when he reads what I’ve written so far.

I won’t get into a lot of details about each component of the movie as it’s the whole concept that doesn’t appeal to me at all. The mixture of weird directing decisions (I get the idea with the PTSD but these flashbacks in the past were pretty random and somewhat redundant in this case), easy to follow but extremely clumsily written plot (even with Phoenix’s amazing performance, but we’ll talk about that a little bit later) and poorly expressed and cliche messages which the movie tries to send, is the main reason that makes “You Were Never Really Here” look like just another low-cost thriller which wants to be something more and wants to grab the audience’s attention with a little bit more tension but fails to do so.

And what does the viewer get after these almost 90 minutes of torture? Well, pretty much nothing apart from it. Somewhere around the 10th minute of the movie I already wanted to leave the cinema (but I didn’t, you know, because I’m not that type of a movie fan and also, as cheap as it sounds, I’ve paid to watch this, after all) and at the 60th, similar to the guy in the movie, I wanted to kill myself. The main character’s urge to deal with his enemies with a metal hammer and a couple of needlessly brutal acts of violence don’t help the movie at all in this case. The audience was still kind of emotionless and the only thing that would probably keep you awake and spare you the suicidal thoughts would be the cool audio tracks that appear in the background at times and bring some sort of life in the otherwise dead thing.*

As I already mentioned in the review, however, the film fails to deliver in ALMOST all aspects and here I want to explain a little bit further why this word is in the sentence at all. The reason is actually only one and its name is Joaquin Phoenix. I couldn’t have mistaken his unforgettable face since the beginning of the movie even when I didn’t know what I was watching. He’s literally the only thing in the movie that manages to give viewers some emotions (even though in my case they were negative ones) and the feeling that the whole thing was not a total waste of time. The only problem is that in “Gladiator”, for example, Phoenix had a great cast alongside him and an amazing show for that time, “Her” had a great storyline from an inspired Spike Jonze (and Scarlett Johansson’s voice as well, of course) whereas here, as much as I like him as an actor, he just doesn’t have anything good to work with and eventually his huge talent is the only reason this movie is not at the bottom of my all-time list for tragically stupid productions (he’s also the reason the movie deserves at least one of the two awards it got at the Cannes festival).

This scene is probably one of the best in the whole movie but when your competition is that terrible, its effect on the audience gets lost somewhere even with an awesome Phoenix starring in it.

After everything I said so far, here’s what you’re probably thinking: “Well, this guy has no idea what he’s talking about so why does he even bother writing?” and you’ll probably be right. However, as I’ve said a few times before, everyone has his own opinion and I’m not going to make anyone agree with mine. I’ll only say this – following the same logic, I didn’t make anyone feel the same way as me in the cinema as well and I still went outside with the impression that there wasn’t a single person in there that left the movie theater satisfied. Oh, and those short questionnaires that we got at the end so that we could rate the movie we’d just watched? Well, everyone filled them in and, to be honest, this happens very rarely and there’s usually a very good reason behind that which goes to one of two possible directions and, trust me, this time it wasn’t the positive one. In the end, though, no matter what people’s emotions and reactions were, it doesn’t make any difference in this case as I’m giving my personal opinion so here’s a rather short summary for you so that I don’t get even more annoyed with writing more text (by the way, the hate in this review is much less than I anticipated):

„You Were Never Really Here“ (I wish it was like that in my case and I wasn’t at that screening) or “A Beautiful Day” (I wish my day was still beautiful after this movie) might be a little bit overrated by the critics and might be called the successor of “Taxi Driver” (I don’t know if the people who have said that were paid an enormous amount of money or were just on some sort of drugs) but if you ask me, I’d like to get not only a refund but also a compensation from the cinema itself for having to see such a mockery. Furthermore, if I could choose, I’d watch the “Taxi Driver” trailer over and over again (which was also shown before the movie itself) as it would never reach that level of boredom this film did. Oh, and if this movie misunderstanding is supposed to be the cult classic with De Niro for our generation, then you should know that I’m most likely the reborn Superman.

3.3 for the Hero Phoenix / 10

* – I guess you’ve noticed the pretty common use of words like “some” and “any” and as you’ve probably figured it out yourselves, my idea was to specifically point out the things that weren’t clear or, to be even more accurate, the vague attempts for doing something good in this movie which, unfortunately, fail miserably.

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